|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
Triumph and Wind
[Posted: 7:00 PM Wednesday]
Note: I was in Delaware earlier this week, visiting my brother and sis-in-law at their new home near the beach. I had a great time, the perfect 24-hour vacation. But I also basically didn’t give a damn about the outside world for 24+ hours, too, and because of that I fell behind.
Then, as I was proofing and getting ready to post, I learned of Broward County and the very high death toll. It’s sickening. I’m also the ‘wait 24 hours’ guy.
I also can’t stand people these days who say it is too trite to say, “Pray for the victims and their families.” I will pray tonight for them.
At the same time, I know some of the following may seem insensitive, but I won’t change what I do. Our society and culture blows...film at eleven.
College Basketball Quiz: Who am I? Using records since 1985-86, who is the career points leader in Division I hoops? Hint: He then played seven seasons in the NBA, all with the same team, his best his rookie year, when he averaged 18.0 ppg.
--Good for Austria’s Marcel Hirscher. The skier has been kicking butt on the World Cup circuit since 2011, winning a record six consecutive overall titles and 55 World Cup victories, but he didn’t have an Olympic gold medal until he won the Alpine combined event, as they actually got an Alpine race in with the heavy winds wreaking havoc on the schedule.
The Alpine combined is one run of downhill and one run of slalom and Hirscher defeated Alexis Pinturault of France by 0.23 of a second. Victor Muffat-Jeandet, Pinturault’s teammate, won the bronze.
Imagine the pressure on Hirscher. It would just suck to have such a spectacular career, but no gold. He’s just 28, but he’s already said he doesn’t plan on racing by 2022.
American Ted Ligety, a two-time Olympic champion, finished a surprisingly good fifth considering the injuries that have limited his racing the past two seasons.
--Yes, the winds have been the big story in PyeongChang. For the snowboarders, Dutch participant Cheryl Maas described it as “a shitshow.” Norway’s Silje Norendal suggested “in our event we can die,” and even American gold medalist Jamie Anderson said it was “super unfortunate.”
As reported by Warwick Green of the Sydney Morning Herald:
“The women’s snowboard slopestyle final was so marred by high winds that it became farcical, with 41 of the 50 runs resulting in snowboarders ending up on their backside. Many competitors felt they were sacrificial lambs at the hands of organizers, who were desperate for some decent action, given that Monday’s schedule had already lost the women’s giant slalom – postponed due to dangerous winds.”
--In Sochi, the Dutch took 23 of 36 possible medals in speedskating, including eight of the 12 golds. They are off to a similar start, taking the gold in five of the first six events, nine of 18 medals in all, as the struggles of the U.S. continue...zero medals thus far. Totally embarrassing.
--Congratulations to 17-year-old American Chloe Kim for winning gold in the halfpipe, joining fellow 17-year-old American Red Gerard atop the podium, Gerard having won the slopestyle event.
For Kim, she was facing the added pressure of her Korean heritage. On Tuesday, her extended family watched her dominate the competition in her parents’ native country.
--And Shaun White claimed his third gold in men’s halfpipe, the 100th overall gold by the United States in the Winter Games.
White then faced questions on a sexual harassment allegation from a few years ago in his press conference, plus he got in trouble for seeming to drag the American flag after he won.
--Robert Samuelson / Washington Post
“Whatever the virtues of the Olympics, economics is not one of them. As we enjoy this year’s Winter Games in South Korea, we ought to ponder the possibility that the Olympics will one day price themselves out of existence. It will cost so much to host the Olympics extravaganza that no one will want to do it.
“Although that may seem far-fetched, the number of cities vying for future Olympics has already dropped dramatically. Here is what Andrew Zimbalist of Smith College, an expert in sports economics, has to say;
“ ‘Not so long ago, cities lined up to bid the moon and the stars to secure the Games. But daunted by the escalating demands of Olympic organizers and a recent history of huge budget deficits, environmental and social dislocations, and rampant corruption, bids to host both the summer and winter Olympics have sharply declined.’
“The numbers are (as they say) eye-popping. In 1997, there were 12 cities competing for the 2004 Summer Games, which were ultimately hosted by Greece. By contrast, the bidding for the 2024 Games ended with two contenders – Paris and Los Angeles – after Boston, Toronto, Rome, Hamburg and Budapest dropped out.
“The story is the same for the Winter Olympics. In 1995, there were nine candidates for the 2002 Winter Games. By 2011, there were only three for the present 2018 Games.
“What has happened is no secret, writes Zimbalist in the current issue of the Milken Institute Review. To host either the Summer or Winter Games requires massive construction projects for new stadiums, dormitories and local transportation systems. But the prospective revenue from the Games doesn’t come close to covering the costs. As a result, the Games impose a permanent burden on the host country’s taxpayers.
“Zimbalist roughly calculates the cost of the next Summer Olympics at $15 billion to $20 billion against prospective revenue of $4 billion to $5 billion. While costs are going up, the prestige and long-term economic benefits – in increased tourism and investment – seem to be going down.”
As for selling television rights and corporate sponsorships, host cities just get about 20 to 25 percent of this; the rest going to the IOC, which funnels it down to national Olympic committees and international sports federations.
I’ve discussed this topic ad nauseam over the years, suggesting that the Games be shelved and there be a focus instead on the world championships for each sport, held at different times over the course of a year. Zimbalist says what you all are thinking no doubt, just pick permanent sites, such as L.A. for the summer games, with all the facilities there already up.
But that’s not going to satisfy global opinion. I’d pick Innsbruck, Austria or Lillehammer, Norway for my permanent Winter Games site.
--Katie Couric had to apologize after she made one of the stupider remarks during NBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony, saying the Netherlands “has lots of canals that can freeze in the winter. So for as long as those canals have existed, the Dutch have skated on them to get from place to place, to race each other and also to have fun.”
Needless to say, social media had a field day, with Jos Duijvestein tweeting: “You just can’t make this up. NBC opening ceremony coverage. Katie Couric talks about why The Netherlands is so good at speed skating as The Netherlands enters the stadium. And this folks is why Americans are less bright about the rest of the world as they spread fake news!”
Couric said she was “trying to salute your historical passion for the sport but it didn’t come out that way!”
--The television ratings for the first five nights of the Games were down 6% over Sochi, though NBC anticipated this. The time difference doesn’t help, let alone the freakin’ weather that is disrupting the Alpine schedule. NBC said the audience delivered so far is ahead of what it promised advertisers.
AP Poll (Feb. 12)
1. Virginia! 23-2 (30)...first time since 1982!
2. Michigan State 24-3 (21)
3. Villanova 23-2 (9)
4. Xavier 23-3 (5)
5. Cincinnati 23-2
6. Purdue 23-4
7. Texas Tech 21-4
8. Ohio State 22-5
9. Gonzaga 23-4
10. Auburn 22-3
11. Clemson 20-4
12. Duke 20-5
13. Kansas 19-6
14. North Carolina 19-7
15. Saint Mary’s 24-3
16. Rhode Island 20-3
19. Wichita State 19-5
So Tuesday, Virginia had a solid win on the road at Miami (18-7, 7-6) 59-50 in its first defense since being named top dog, holding the Hurricanes to below 40% from the field (18-47, 38.3%).
Michigan State* blasted Minnesota (14-13, 3-11) 87-57.
Shocking 7 Texas Tech (second time in school history it’s been ranked this high) beat 23 Oklahoma (16-9, 6-7) as the Sooners’ Trae Young continued to swoon like his team, just 4 of 16 from the field, 0 for 9 from three.
And 16 Rhode Island is now 13-0 in the A 10, 85-67 winners over Richmond (9-16, 7-6).
*Michigan State faculty members issued a vote of no confidence in the university’s board of trustees Tuesday, members voting 61-4 to express no confidence in the eight-member governing body as a result of the Larry Nassar sexual assault scandal. The faculty has no power to remove the trustees but they felt it was important to let them know that a major part of the campus community does not approve of their actions thus far.
Former Michigan governor John Engler has been named interim school president, replacing Lou Anna Simon who resigned two weeks ago amid heavy criticism for not properly handling the Nassar case.
Engler has asked football coach Mark Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo to refrain from commenting on ESPN’s Outside the Lines report regarding MSU’s response to sexual assault, both coaches mentioned in it. Izzo has not commented as yet.
--Monday, the Knicks (23-35) lost to the 76ers (29-25) 108-92 in Philly, as T.J. McConnell had a triple-double off the bench...10 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists, plus 6 steals.
With Kristaps Porzingis out until at least next mid-season, the Knicks need Tim Hardaway Jr. to pick up some of the slack on offense and he is in the throes of a godawful stretch, like try 5 of 44 from three his last seven games! 5 of 44!!!
--Tuesday, the Cavs won their fourth straight, 120-112 at Oklahoma City, with all four new additions contributing heavily, but the main man still King James, 37-8-8.
--I didn’t want to talk about LaVar Ball anymore, but the outspoken father of Lonzo said something the other day that may have cemented his son’s fate in Los Angeles.
As in LaVar said if the Lakers want to keep Lonzo, they’ll need to take his brothers, too.
“I want all three boys to play for the Lakers,” LaVar told a Lithuanian journalist. “But if that does not happen, I’m telling you the story [of] what’s gonna happen first.”
LaVar said the Lakers need to take “Gelo” (LiAngelo) this year, and then Melo (LaMelo) the following year. At that point, “Lonzo will be on his third year, and I will let every NBA team know that Lonzo is not going to re-sign with the Lakers, but will go to any team that will take all of my three boys. That’s my plan.”
LiAngelo and LaMelo are playing in the Lithuanian League and they just snapped a nine-game losing streak.
LaVar and his boys are going to end up being blackballed from the NBA.
NFL / College Football
--Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich became the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, after Indy was jilted by Josh McDaniels. Reich deserves the opportunity and the Colts won’t be disappointed, I imagine.
--NFL attendance dropped 3 percent this past season, but that is due in part to the Rams, who saw their attendance fall from 83,164 per game at the L.A. Coliseum in 2016 to 63,392 per game this season, and the Chargers, who played last season in a stadium that seats only 27,000 people after playing for decades in a San Diego facility with a capacity of around 70,000. So of the 3 percent decline overall, 77 percent is a result of these two teams.
But college football saw a decline of 3 percent as well for all FBS teams in 2017, as just announced by the NCAA, and there are no similar excuses. [USC’s attendance rose by 4,224 per game at the Coliseum.] It’s the largest per-game attendance drop in 34 years, according to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, and second-largest decrease ever, behind only 1982-83.
Dodd notes that for the first time in history, college football attendance has now declined in four straight years. Since 2008, when a record 46,971 watched live college football games on average, attendance has declined 10.1 percent.
One big reason for the drop is it’s simply too easy to watch virtually all of your team’s games on television (or the computer), and it’s a better viewing experience (let alone logistics of traffic, weather and such). But it’s also the dynamic of today’s students, fewer of them feeling like going to your school’s games is an important part of college life, which is sad.
Florida Atlantic was one of the team’s to buck the trend, with average attendance at its games rising from 10,073 to 18,948, thanks to the team’s 11-3 record in coach Lane Kiffin’s first season.
TV ratings for college football, as measured by Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp, declined on ABC (down a whopping 18 percent), CBS (10 percent), ESPN (6 percent) and NBC (down 3 percent). Fox ratings were up 23 percent, but this was because it was in the first year of its deal with the Big Ten.
--It is outrageous the NCAA denied Notre Dame’s appeal Tuesday to restore 21 vacated football victories from an academic misconduct violation, ND’s president saying the association “perverted” the notion that universities determine how they police academics.
All 12 wins from the Fighting Irish’s 2012 national championship game run under coach Brian Kelly disappear into the ether.
University President Fr. John Jenkins says the penalty was unprecedented considering who was involved in the misconduct, and the school was being punished for rigorously enforcing its honor code. He called the ruling unfair, referencing the recent North Carolina case in which the NCAA did not punish the school after an investigation of athletes taking irregular courses.
Notre Dame had agreed to accept certain NCAA findings and acknowledged cheating involving several football players and a student athletic trainer, but appealed only the penalty that vacated victories.
The trainer was employed by the athletic department from the fall of 2009 through the spring of 2013 and “partially or wholly completed numerous academic assignments for football student-athletes in numerous courses” from 2011 into 2013.
The NCAA says three athletes ended up playing while ineligible, one during the 2012 season, which ended with a lopsided loss to Alabama in the BCS championship game, and the other two the following season, when the Irish went 9-4.
Notre Dame deserved the harsh penalties it received, such as one year’s probation, but the idea of vacating the results of games already played is just stupid. I hate it.
--As we analyze the 2018 college football schedules, Ken P. is outraged at Georgia’s, as the Bulldogs, who will be preseason top three in all the polls, have Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee and UMass at home for their non-conference schedule, plus traditional rival Georgia Tech in the finale, also at home. Can’t disagree with Ken.
Wake Forest is actually rated by some to have an easy schedule, with non-conference opponents Towson and Rice at home, but I’m worried about our opener at Tulane.
Oregon is judged to have a super easy schedule, opening at home against Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State. Yup, that’s 3-0.
Alabama’s traditional patsy prior to the finale vs. Auburn is The Citadel.
Many believe Michigan has the toughest and no argument here on that.
Opening at Notre Dame, plus at Northwestern, at Michigan State, and the finale at Ohio State, with Wisconsin and Penn State at home. Throw in what should be a resurgent Nebraska and, yeah, that schedule is a bear.
--The pristine image of Eli Manning took a shot a few years ago when a sports licensing scandal involving fake “game-worn” Manning equipment emerged. This was 2014, stemming from an investigation going back to 2008 and an email from equipment manager Joe Skiba that said a Manning helmet and jersey offered for sale as game-worn were “BS ones,” according to a court filing. Eli then sent an email on April 27, 2010, allegedly asking Skiba for “2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli.”
When this story first broke in 2014, the Giants said the email from 2010 was “taken out of context” and that Manning “is well known for his integrity and this is just the latest misguided attempt to defame his character.”
But now Giants co-owner John Mara, Manning and others, including the Steiner Sports memorabilia company, face a March civil-racketeering trial over allegations by memorabilia dealer Eric Inselberg that they schemed to pass off phony game-worn Manning equipment as real. [Kaja Whitehouse and Bruce Golding / NY Post]
--We note the passing of kicker Ben Agajanian, who died at the age of 98, and was known as the pros’ first career kicking specialist, kicking for nine teams in three leagues over 13 seasons with a specially designed square-toe shoe.
Richard Goldstein / New York Times
“When Agajanian played on the defensive line and place-kicked for the University of New Mexico, he held a job with a soft-drink bottling company to help with his college costs. One spring day in 1941, he was riding in the company’s open freight elevator when a concrete wall collapsed and crushed his right foot, severing four toes.
“Agajanian was told that he would walk with a limp and never play football again.
“But not only did he return to his college team; he also became a place-kicking pioneer.”
While Agajanian’s injury prevented him from playing at another position like all kickers of his day, he was valuable enough to kick until he was 45.
Agajanian kicked two field goals in the Giants’ 1956 NFL championship game 47-7 rout of the Bears at frozen Yankee Stadium, and he kicked for the 1961 champion Green Bay Packers.
After his playing days, he tutored kickers for Tom Landry’s Cowboys for two decades.
As for his square kicking shoe, Agajanian told the Los Angeles Times in 2016: “Lot of guys said I was cheating because I had the hard square toe. I said, ‘Well, you can do it too. If it helps you, why not?’”
Overall, he made 104 of 204 field-goal attempts and 343 of 351 extra points.
The first games in the Last-16, Knockout Round, were held Tuesday and Wednesday and my Tottenham Spurs had a super comeback draw, 2-2, at Juventus, who scored the first two goals in the initial nine minutes, before tallies by Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen evened it up, sending things back to Wembley in March for the decider.
Man City whipped FC Basel 4-0; Ronaldo scored two in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain; and Liverpool rode a hat-trick by Sadio Mane to a 5-0 win over FC Porto.
--I don’t have time for details on the Bill Haas auto accident that he survived, a passenger in a Ferrari driven by a man who died, but boy are his fans thankful.
--We note the passing of comic Marty Allen, 95, the comedian whose catchphrase was “hello dere,” and a man who late in life was a link to a generation of long-dead superstars with whom he shared a stage, including Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne and Elvis Presley. He first found fame as half of the duo Allen & Rossi with partner Steve Rossi, who died in 2014.
Peter Keepnews / New York Times
“Within a few years after teaming up in the late 1950s, Allen and Rossi had become a familiar presence in the nation’s top nightclubs and on television variety shows.
“In two of their many appearances [Ed. a total of 44!] on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ – Mr. Allen liked to say that they had been on the show more times than Ed Sullivan himself – Allen and Rossi had the unenviable task of following the Beatles. They won over an audience dominated by screaming teenage girls both times.
“On the first occasion, in February 1964, Mr. Allen performed a frenetic dance wearing a Beatle wig; on the second, in September 1965, he ran up and down the aisles while Mr. Rossi sang ‘She Loves You’ (its lyrics amended to ‘We love you, yeah, yeah, yeah’ and addressed to the audience).”
Marty Allen was born Morton Alpern in Pittsburgh. He studied journalism at the University of Southern California, but decided he was better suited to be a performer rather than a reporter. He began his show business career as a comedian, playing clubs in Pittsburgh, before joining the Army Air Forces and serving in Italy.
It was Nat King Cole who suggested Allen team with Mr. Rossi, after Allen broke up with fellow comedian Mitch DeWood. Allen and Rossi would go on to be compared to Lewis and Martin, after those two broke up in 1956.
But the comparison ended in 1966, after their first and only movie, “The Last of the Secret Agents?” The reviews were devastating. Vincent Canby wrote that Allen and Rossi were “lacking in both wit and vitality” and dismissed the film as a “vehicle made of plywood and cheesecloth.”
Allen and Rossi broke up amicably in 1968, with Allen finding work as a frequent guest on “The Hollywood Squares” and “Password.”
--AP: “Authorities say a leaping elk brought down a research helicopter trying to capture the animal in the mountains of eastern Utah.
“Wasatch County authorities say the elk jumped into the chopper’s tail rotor as it flew about 10 feet above ground, trying to capture the animal with a net.
“The two people on board weren’t seriously hurt, but wildlife officials say the elk died of its injuries.”
Jumping into a rotor blade will do that.
“The state-contracted Australian crew was trying to capture and sedate the elk so they could give it a tracking collar and research its movements about 90 miles east of Salt Lake City.”
--Brad K. passed along the story of a new golf course opening in Oregon that will give golfers the option to use trained goats as professional caddies. As first reported by Golf Digest, “The goats are raised on the ranch and are trained to carry golf balls, tees, clubs, and, of course, drinks.”
Another situation where Man is being replaced, but in this case not by a robot, but by a goat, No. 39 on the All-Species List and gaining more and more respect.
--Johnny Mac passed along the following from Jamie Pyatt for the Daily Mail:
“A big cat poacher has been killed and eaten by the pride of lions he was hunting at a private game reserve in South Africa.
“The hunter was heard screaming for help as he was attacked at the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit outside Phalaborwa.
“But the lions quickly killed their victim and devoured most of his body before being chased off, leaving his head untouched.
“Police at first thought the dead man was a tractor driver who worked at the game reserve.
“But when he turned up alive, they realized he may have been a poacher. A hunting rifle was found close to what was left of the blood drenched body.”
Police Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said: “The process of identifying this body has already commenced and it might be made easier as his head was amongst the remains found at the scene.”
One would think so.
Well, this is very impressive on the part of ‘Lion,’ who had been demoted from the top 10 of the All-Species List for inactivity. It would seem the ASL board needs to rethink its placement, currently No. 16.
--Congratulations to Danielle Herrington for being named Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Girl. Alas, given today’s times, I am unable to say anything else. Nope, wouldn’t be prudent.
--And congratulations to Flynn, a bichon fise, for winning best-in-show honors at the 142nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Flynn beat out a strong field, including Slick, the Border collie, Lucy the borzoi, Biggie the pug, Bean the Sussex spaniel, Winston the Norfolk terrier and Ty the giant schnauzer, who finished as the runner-up.
--Finally, Vic Damone died. He was 89. Damone’s easy-listening romantic ballads brought him million-selling albums and sustained a half-century career in recordings, movies and nightclub, concert and television appearances.
After Damone won a tie on the radio show “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Hunt,” his career took off; cranking out hits like “Again,” “You’re Breaking My Heart,” “My Heart Cries for You,” “On the Street Where You Live” and, the title song of the Cary Grant film “An Affair To Remember.”
Damone said in a 1992 interview with Newsday that he tried to mimic Sinatra. “I decided that if I could sound like Frank maybe I have a chance. I was singing his words, breathing his breaths, [doing] his interpretation, with the high notes, the synergy.”
Sinatra, who praised Damone’s singing ability, and Damone, along with Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Dean Martin and others – made up a group of Italian Americans who dominated the postwar pop music field.
Damone was born Vito Farinola in Brooklyn, N.Y., to immigrants from Bari, Italy, and he dropped out of high school after his father, an electrician, was injured on the job. Damone adopted his mother’s maiden name when he began his career. He caught an early break, when, while working as an usher at the Paramount Theater in New York City, he bumped into Perry Como on the elevator, Damone then just 14.
Damone stopped the elevator between floors and started singing. Then he asked Como whether he should continue voice lessons, and Como said simply, “Keep singing!” and referred him to a local bandleader.
Damone was originally cast in “The Godfather,” but the role of a budding singer seeking mob help in a Hollywood career eventually went to Al Martino.
He was married five times, including famously for nearly a decade to actress-singer Diahann Carroll.
Top 3 songs for the week 2/12/66: #1 “My Love” (Petula Clark) #2 “Lightnin’ Strikes” (Lou Christie...love this one...was #1 the following week...) #3 “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” (Stevie Wonder)...and...#4 “Barbara Ann” (The Beach Boys) #5 “We Can Work It Out” (The Beatles) #6 “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)” (The T-Bones) #7 “Crying Time” (Ray Charles...another great tune...) #8 “My World Is Empty Without You” (The Supremes) #9 “Five O’Clock World” (The Vogues...just a great week....) #10 “Don’t Mess With Bill” (The Marvelettes)
College Basketball Quiz Answer: Using records since the 1985-86 season, the all-time points leader in Division I hoops is La Salle’s Lionel Simmons, with 3,217, 1987-90. He then played seven seasons with Sacramento, averaging 18 per game his rookie year, when he made the All-Rookie team.
Next Bar Chat, Monday.